“The Lancang-Mekong Cooperation is one of China’s most formidable foreign policy strategies in recent history. What [LMC] has achieved in the last 1,092 days is remarkable.” This was how Mr. Kavi Chongkittavorn, Senior Fellow at Chulalongkorn University’s Institute of Security and International Studies, summed up his presentation at a forum co-organized by Mekong Institute (MI) and the Embassy of P.R. China in the Kingdom of Thailand last March 20, 2019.
In celebration of the Second Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Week, the forum gathered more than 60 government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, experts, and academicians to discuss the achievements of initiatives under the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Framework since its inception in 2016.
Delivering the welcome remarks, Dr. Watcharas Leelawath, MI Executive Director, highlighted that the half-day forum is one of the important events celebrating the LMC Week. He related that the ultimate goal of this regional cooperation mechanism is to stimulate growth and narrow down the development gap among the Lancang-Mekong countries. Dr. Leelawath shared that MI has been working closely with the Chinese government on different projects, positioning itself as a key organization that can help drive and strengthen development cooperation among the neighboring countries.
Ms. Yang Yang, Political Counselor at the Embassy of P.R. China in the Kingdom of Thailand, also emphasized that a founding principle of the LMC is to promote regional sustainable development. She pointed out that “the six countries enjoy geographic proximity, cultural affinity, and economic complementarity, which lays a solid foundation for coordinated and sustainable development.” She concluded that China is “committed in championing an open world economy” especially in a period when the global economy is beset with rising unilateralism and protectionism.
Aside from Mr. Chongkittavorn, other thought leaders who spoke at the forum included: Dr. Rong Ying, Vice President of the China Institute of International Studies; Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, Director of MI’s Trade and Investment Facilitation Department; and Mr. Xing Lyu, Associate Professor from Yunnan University.
The LMC is a sub-regional cooperation mechanism launched in March 2016 by all riparian countries of the Mekong River, including Cambodia, PR China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The main objective of this regional partnership is to create a community of shared future, peace, and prosperity focusing on five priority areas of cooperation: connectivity, production capacity, cross-border economic cooperation, water resources, as well as agriculture and poverty reduction.